Tips + Techniques

Bloomberg Businessweek Photo Editor Talks How to Get Hired

June 9, 2020

By Jacqueline Tobin

© Heami Lee

It’s as important as ever for photographers to remain on their clients’ radar, especially as many continue to work in isolation after the spread of COVID-19. Now that photographers are coming up with ways of making money on work they’ve already photographed, in addition to shooting new sessions from home, we’re diving into what clients and editors are looking for.

Here, we sat down (virtually) with Leonor Mamanna, a senior photo editor of Bloomberg Businessweek, based in New York City, who assigns photographers to shoot portraits, still life, interiors and travel photography for the brand’s luxury outlet, Pursuits. Mamanna shares what she’s looking for, which creators have caught her eye lately and the do’s and don’ts of reaching out to her for work.

How do you typically find photographers?

Reading photography publications like Rangefinder! That’s true! But also other magazines, websites and, of course, Instagram. I love the Explore page. 

How are you approaching work with photographers amid self-isolating and social-distancing protocols?

I’ve assigned quite a bit of still life since the stay-at-home order began. I try to limit the amount of messengers who need to drop things off and chat with photographers about what they might need to compensate for the lack of a team—for instance, helping them source props in lieu of having a prop stylist. 

What has been one of your favorite shoots so far?

Recently, I worked on a food shoot with Heami Lee. Food styling is a real art, and when you have multiple dishes, it is difficult to pull off in the best of times. I wasn’t sure if anyone was working, so I reached out to food stylist Maggie Ruggiero. She told me that she and Heami, and prop stylist Rebecca Bartoshesky, were aligning together and isolating so that they could work together safely. I was relieved. I’d never worked with Heami before and it was a smooth experience. The shoot turned out beautifully. 

food still life photographed for bloomberg businessweek in isolation by heami lee
Heami Lee says having a close rapport with the prop and food stylist, both on and off set, helped make shooting in isolation much easier. “Overall, it set a great precedent for the jobs to come in the world of the new normal,” Lee notes.
food still life photographed for bloomberg businessweek in isolation by heami lee
“Leonor and her team knew what they wanted and knew when we had it,” Lee says. “Their communication was great and direct, which makes these remote jobs painless.”

What is a successful way for photographers to reach out to you?

A good old-fashioned email (no DMs, please!!!!) with a little background information: where you live, what kind of work do you do, what sort of work are you hoping to do and, if applicable, where you’ve been published. And please include your website and social links, so I can get a well-rounded picture. No pun intended.

What about a pet peeve in this regard?

A huge pet peeve is pitching me a project that is clearly meant for another magazine or is totally off-base for Pursuits. Do your research

What key elements do you look for in a photographer and their work before they get hired?

I want to feel something. I love to see something that surprises me, makes me smile or laugh or think. 

What photographer or trend have you seen lately that you’ve enjoyed?

I am loving seeing photographers who are getting creative with their more limited surroundings. All these projects inspired by COVID-19 are interesting—especially the ones that have little to nothing to do with the virus itself.